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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Pak says not desperate for talks, India says neither are we

PTI  New Delhi, February 25, 2010
First Published: 22:27 IST(25/2/2010) | Last Updated: 01:42 IST(26/2/2010)

In a retort to Pakistan's contention that it was "not desperate" for dialogue, India tonight said neither was it desperate for talks and indicated unhappiness over the attempts at "point-scoring" by Pakistan.

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Shortly after Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir addressed a press conference here that was seen as acrimonious, sources in the government said that by offering to hold talks, India had made a sincere effort to rebuild trust and would watch how Pakistan acts on its core concern of terrorism.

The sources underlined that security of its people was of utmost importance to the government and it was in this context that it pressed for concrete action to end anti-India terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

"These are genuine concerns... We are not lecturing," the sources said while rebutting Bashir's point that Pakistan did not like to be sermoned.

With regard to the Pakistan Foreign Secretary's view that his country was "not desperate" for dialogue, the sources said even India was not desperate.

They went on to add that dialogue should not be measured in terms of desperation etc.

Apparently peeved at Bashir's "point-scoring" attempts, the sources observed that while Rao had got her brief for the talks from a democratic government, her Pakistani counterpart had got the brief from "GHQ (General Headquarters of Army) and men in khaki".

The sources rejected Bashir's contention that issues like Kashmir, Balochistan and water were discussed "extensively" in
today's talks, underlining that 85 per cent of the discussions were on terrorism emanating from Pakistan and 10 other issues figured in the remaining 15 per cent of the three-hour-long talks.

"The tone and tenor of the talks was good... But we are surprised at point scoring by Pakistan," the Indian government
sources said.

They said Rao had invited her Pakistani counterpart for the talks with an "open mind" and India's point of view had been conveyed in a "mature" manner.

India now hopes Pakistan would also respond in a mature manner and act on India's concerns with regard to terrorism,
which would determine whether the trust could be built or not.

"Proof of pudding is in eating," the sources said, adding India would watch whether Pakistan acts as it would be
crucial for incremental progress in relations. India, however, has not set any "benchmarks" for Pakistan.

Noting that India has always believed that the door for talks should not be shut, the sources said it feels that the
Foreign Secretary-level talks were "one small step" aimed at restoring trust that has been eroded by Mumbai attacks.

On failure of Pakistan to act against Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, India wonders whether it was because he
"knows too much" or was a part of Pakistani establishment.

India points out that it has given enough evidence and "not mere literature" as claimed by Pakistan and wants Pakistan to act against him.


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